Fulfillment, also known as order fulfillment, covers the entire process from when a customer places an order to the moment that item arrives at the customer’s doorstep. Order fulfillment generally describes how you get products from a storage facility or fulfillment center to your customers. This encompasses warehousing, picking, packing, and shipping orders.
There are three methods for order fulfillment:
- Merchant fulfillment
- Third-party fulfillment
- Drop shipping
Merchant or self-fulfillment is when you fulfill orders in-house. Third-party fulfillment is when you outsource the process to a fulfillment center, like ShipBob. Drop shipping is a subset of third-party fulfillment, where a product is stored and shipped by the manufacturer for products you sell wholesale. With drop shipping, you are never in possession of the products you sell.
There are many benefits of outsourcing fulfillment to a third-party logistics provider. Fulfillment centers store, pick, pack, and ship products as orders come in. Fulfillment centers can work autonomously, in that they can receive the orders directly from the e-commerce store and automatically begin to fulfill them, without any action taken by the merchant.
Fulfillment centers have greater resources at their disposal than all but the largest merchants that self-fulfil. ShipBob, for example, has hundreds of thousands of square feet of warehouse space and counting. Unlike merchants that quickly run out of storage space, ShipBob makes it easy to scale a merchant’s business. This makes for a streamlined order fulfillment process, and also improves customer service and reduces the chance of stockouts, overselling, mis-ships, and mis-picks.
ShipBob’s order fulfillment covers a wide range of services:
- Distributed inventory. ShipBob has warehouses in New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, with many more popping up in the coming years. You can strategically split your inventory between any of their warehouses, so that your products are closer to your customers. This translates to cheaper shipping for you and faster delivery times for customers.
- Inventory management. Never run out of a product again with ShipBob’s sophisticated inventory management software. It even sends low inventory notifications, so you have plenty of time to reorder before your product sells out.
- Fast onboarding. ShipBob’s software is extremely easy to use, allowing you to get set up and ready to go in 15 minutes or less – it’s that simple.
- Free returns management. Returns are an integral part of the order fulfillment process. ShipBob will get your products back into the supply line quickly and without the headache.
- Custom branded packaging. Unboxing is a key part of the brand experience. ShipBob lets retailers use their own branded packaging. If that’s not your style, you can take advantage of ShipBob’s free plain brown boxes and packing supplies.
- Bulk discounts. ShipBob works closely with the four major U.S. carriers: FedEx, DHL, UPS, and USPS. They’ve negotiated discounts with all of them so the savings can be passed on to you. No matter how many orders you get a month, you can rest assured that you’ll get the best rate possible.
- World-class support. All of ShipBob’s warehouses are wholly owned and staffed with their own employees. They’re dedicated to ensuring that you and your customers get the best service possible.
Fulfillment centers are experts in fulfilling orders for a reason. They’re designed to do it quickly, efficiently, accurately, and at exceptionally high volumes. Most companies don’t go into business to pack boxes, but ShipBob did. They want to help free up your time, so you can focus on what’s most important – your business and your success. Let ShipBob take care of the busy work. No matter how much your business grows, you won’t have to worry about outgrowing ShipBob.
If you’re ready to see for yourself how ShipBob can save you time and money, get in touch today.
ShipBob offers a free trial to new customers on a zero-commitment basis.